Religious solidarity: The hand grenade experiment
(2008) Journal of Cognition and Culture, Vol. 8. 295-320pp.
(with my former PhD Student, Dr. Andrew Mahoney.)
Previous studies have found that religious partners tend to be more cooperative with known religious cohort than secular partners are cooperative with known secular cohort. Prior to this study, however, it was unclear whether religious cooperation would extend to anonymous partners. This question is interesting in its own right, but it is especially important for evaluating evolutionary models of religion. If religion evolved for individual benefits, then we would predict that religious cooperation would not occur in anonymous contexts. On the other hand, if religion evolved to benefit cultural groups, religious cooperation should not be compromised when exchange is anonymous. We demonstrated significant increases to charity among anonymous religious partners when compared to charity among anonymous secular partners, bringing some preliminary evidence to the cultural group selection model for religious cooperation